Kakoli and her talented musicians bring Tagore’s poems to life

By  Kersi  Meher-Homji

Although not understanding a word of Bengali I always have a passion for Bangla music as my musical heroes are Pankaj Mullick and Hemant Kumar. I can still recall some of the words of Pankaj’s songs from the Bengali movie  Yatrik, seen over fifty years ago.

So when I heard about Songs and Poems of Rabindranath Tagore to be sung by Ms Kakoli Mukherjee and her group at the Indian Cultural Centre in Sydney I jumped at the idea and attended it.

And what a musical interlude! The songs still ring in my ears as I hum and sing them in a language I do not understand. That’s the enchanting part about music. It is universal and multilingual.

Recently Indian Consulate members and special guests enjoyed the melodious coalescence of Bengali and Hindi poetic nuances of Rabindranath Tagore. These were conveyed in the form of solo pieces, mellifluous duets and carried the rich resonance of a choir interspersed with poetic interludes scripted by Kakoli Mukherjee and Kumkum Ganguli.

Alongside, vocalists accompanied the rhythmic hues of the table as also resonating strings of the sarod and violin. The ensemble consisted of vocalists (Anjana Bhowmik, Ananya Islam, Kumkum Ganguli, Indira Mukherjee, Sanjoy Mukherjee) led by Kakoli and an immensely talented group of musicians, Sandipan Ganguli on the sarod, Debashish Dutta on the tabla and Rishi Dutta on the violin.

Ananya Islam, Rishi Dutta and  Debashish Dutta are from Bangladesh.

It was a pleasure interviewing the melodious Kakoli exclusively for  The Indian Down Under.

Kersi: When was the group of Rabindranath Tagore singing formed?

Kakoli:  “All the performers are part of my Music School called Bharatiya Sangeet Academy except the musicians. We perform classical Ghazals, Tagore songs and Bhajans.”

Kersi: I was most impressed with sarod player Sandipan Ganguli. Is Kumkum Ganguli related to him?

Kakoli: “Sandipan performs professionally and Kumkum is his wife.”

Kersi: How often do you perform in public every year? When did you first sing in a group? Did you start singing / performing in India or in Australia?

Kakoli: “I perform many times a year. I usually sing solo but also sometimes in group. I started singing and performing in India on All India Radio and on TV.”

Kersi: How many students do you have now? Have any of your students reached the top (near top) in music?“

Kakoli: I have around fifty students. Yes some of them are performing solo in Australia as well as in other countries.”

Kersi: Who was your inspiration in music? Is there music in your family?

Kakoli:: “My parents have been my inspiration. Music runs in my family.

Kersi: Your favourite singer?

Kakoli: “My favourite singers are Lata Mangesshkar, Mohammed Rafi and Ajay Chakraborty.”

The concert ended with the Tagore classic which said musically (when roughly translated), “We come in the world alone, we leave the world alone”. I am still humming that poetic philosophy.

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